Peephole crimes and misdemeanors

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We are officially wusses.  

When a neighbor annoys us, we tend to react with a cold shoulder if some other accommodation can't be reached.

It never occurred to us to place a voodoo curse instead, or mess with their peephole, or, um, defecate on their door—three of the many harassment complaints that the folks at the non-profit Safe Horizon Mediation Program are apparently accustomed to hearing.

According to Safe Horizon’s community outreach coordinator, Melissa Appleton, NYC vertical dwellers who come to mediate their differences away complain of harassing behaviors that include:

  1. Keeping track of a neighbor’s comings and goings
  2. Filing false reports of child abuse to the NYC Administration for Children Services, which has to investigate all claims
  3. Stalking
  4. Inflicting door damage including messing with the peephole, defecating on the door, and leaving other nasty objets on or in front of the door
  5. Cursing and yelling
  6. Verbal threats
  7. Voodoo curses
  8. Threatening to report a neighbor to the landlord or super
  9. Constantly reporting a neighbor to the police
  10. Making noise on purpose including banging, dropping things, walking in high heels, and having loud sex.

So how, exactly, does one get over an episode of doorway defecation?

"Usually, the person bringing the complaint will say that the incident itself is not the central issue," says Appleton. "Instead, it may be the result of one neighbor being upset by noise complaints, for instance. So the conversation would focus on how the neighbors can live respectfully in peace and quiet."

Another possibility, she says, is that it's all a big misunderstanding.

"This may be the very first time that the neighbor being accused has an opportunity to respond and explain that the complainant is mistaken--that someone else is doing it, and they really have been insulted and hurt by such accusations."

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